Sunday, October 07, 2012

New Einstein letter: God is “product of human weaknesses”

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Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

Evangelicals just love to claim Albert Einstein as a fellow God-believer in their quest to trot out quotes of his (some real, most fabricated) to try and prove atheists wrong. But while Einstein was no atheist (saying it angered him to be quoted in support of godlessness), he was even less of a religionist, and a newly revealed letter of his that’s about to go on sale on eBay – for $3 million, in case you’re interested – further cements the point:

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text.

Of course, it’s important to remember that Einstein was referring to mainstream religion, which he usually labeled “childish” as a caricature of God. But he was nonetheless a “devoutly religious man” in his own sense:

That's not, however, because Einstein rejected the notion of God, but because he took the idea of God very seriously, elevating it above a religious conception to a mathematical one. To Einstein, the elegance of the phsyics guiding the universe were God's handiwork, the mark not of a humanlike being that maintains control over the world, but of a divine beauty in nature's laws. As Walter Issacson wrote in his biography, following a religious phase in childhood, Einstein retained "a profound reverence for the harmony and beauty of what he called the mind of God as it was expressed in the creation of the universe and its laws."

In other words, for Einstein, “God” was the indescribable sense of naturalistic harmony inherent to the known Universe and manmade religion was nothing more than a childish fairy tale.

Keep that in mind the next time some God-botting goober like Ray Comfort brings him up in a swipe at atheists.

(via Pharyngula)